Exclusive: Biden to urge Congress to pass anti-gun violence legislation in Wednesday address

Exclusive: Biden to urge Congress to pass anti-gun violence legislation in Wednesday address

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will use his first address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday to pressure lawmakers to confront gun violence, underscoring the administration’s focus on fulfilling a campaign pledge that had been mostly overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic. During his remarks, Biden will reiterate his characterization of gun violence as an epidemic, both in the drumbeat of recent mass shootings and a spike in homicides and gun violence in communities across the country, a White House official told USA TODAY. He will repeat calls for Congress to pass two House bills to strengthen background checks for gun buyers and close the so-called Charleston loophole, which allows gun sales to proceed without a completed background check if three business days have lapsed, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the president’s remarks. The bills, which have broad public support, have languished in an evenly divided Senate where Democrats would need to maintain their razor thin majority while also finding 10 Republican votes. Despite the uphill battle, Democrats are heed the president’s call. Last week Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., reintroduced a bill to remove protections for manufacturers and sellers from consumer negligence lawsuits and allow victims of gun violence to pursue legal recourse. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a key Democrat leading gun control efforts, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last week that he’s made calls to almost half the Republican caucus "asking them to keep an open […]

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